Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Speeding Up Large Worksheets.

Speeding Up Large Worksheets

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 15, 2020)

4

Excel users are always looking for ways to speed up large worksheets. If you are using a large worksheet that has lots of static formulas in it, this tip may be of help to you.

Consider the following scenario: You have a large spreadsheet with many hundreds of rows. Each row has a couple of data columns and then a column or two that perform calculations on those data columns. Once the data columns are set, the information in the calculated columns never changes. However, Excel must still perform the calculations every time it goes through a recalculation cycle.

These recalculations obviously slow down Excel. You can see if your worksheet is speedier if you simply copy the cells in the columns being calculated and then use Paste Special to paste them as Values. The formulas are replaced with the calculated values, and Excel no longer has to recalculate hundreds of cells which now contain static values.

If you need to maintain the original formulas that were in the columns, make sure you don't select the top or bottom cells in the calculated columns before doing your copy and paste. These will remain as formulas, and you can copy them as needed at a later date.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (536) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Speeding Up Large Worksheets.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Setting Limit Height in the Equation Editor

You can adjust the distance between the equation body and a limit line.

Discover More

Undoing Smart Tag Exclusions

Depending on who you ask, Smart Tags can be really cool or really distracting. If you fall on the "cool" side, you may ...

Discover More

Searching for Text that Doesn't End a Paragraph

The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are very powerful, particularly if you are using wildcards in your search. ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Stopping an Excel Window from Maximizing

When you drag an Excel window near the edge of your screen, you may end up having that window occupy more of the screen ...

Discover More

Iterating Circular References

Does your data require that you perform calculations using circular references? If so, then you'll want to be aware of ...

Discover More

Jumping to the Real Last Cell

Jumping to the last cell in a worksheet should be easy, but you may not always get the results that you expect. This tip ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 + 8?

2020-08-17 15:49:34

Jerry Herman

Referring to the Microsoft support topic https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office/client-developer/excel/excel-recalculation, it would appear that recalculations are only done for eight listed volatile functions, including functions related to current time (NOW and TODAY), certain lookup functions (OFFSET and INDIRECT) and a few others.

Is there something else going on that I'm missing?

Thanks,

Jerry


2020-08-16 09:31:53

John Mann

Albert
As I understand the tip, in rows where the data won't change (for example data entered for specifiec dates now past) the procedure is replacing the formulas with the result entered as data. If the formulas will be needed in the future for more data entry, then make sure you don't replace the formaly in every row - leave one or two rows with formula intact. That way there is still a formula to be copied.
As and example, I keep the books of a small non-profit group. I could use this procedure to copy & paste-special all formulas for previous months, and leave the current months rows as calculated data
Hope that helps

John


2020-08-15 12:46:04

Albert

Sorry I really don't understand what could be done to keep the spreadsheet faster. "....maintain the original formulas that were in the columns, make sure you don't select the top or bottom cells in the calculated columns before doing your copy and paste"

Is that it?


2020-08-15 04:54:51

Rene Boers

You can turn off automatic calculation and only run it when needed = F9. You can also recalculate the current sheet only = Shift + F9.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.